A Parisian Love Story (Actually, Two)

There are many ways to love and be loved.

Let me tell you about Jean Luc, one of the sweetest men I’ve ever met.

I was sitting at a cafe in Paris. (Lord, that sounds fancy.) It was the opera district. I was across from the Palais Garnier, and I ordered a glass of rosé, because I knew my last name was going to become Rose, and I ate French fries, because they go perfect with pink wine, and I was writing little heartfelt messages on slips of paper I had taken from a church. (Shh. Don’t tell.) Call them prayers, if you will. Very special sayings.

Jean Luc was sitting behind me with his adorable lover, watching, smiling. Until I finally turned around and we began to talk.

He was preparing to go to a show, a play he thought would be perfect for me, called Carmen. (Did I look that much like a gypsy? Because I am.) And as I moved my seat and took up two tables, which I’m prone to do in Paris (the tables are so close together!), we talked about life and love. Jean Luc had a sparkle in his eye and a youthful demeanor and a very soft voice. And he asked me what was my deepest dream for my life.

No one ever asked me that. In fact, it stunned me a bit. Because I’m the one used to asking those kind of questions.

Soon it was time to go. I had plans to visit the Eiffel Tower that night, and I’d already bought wine and cheese and baguette to take there to have a picnic. It was the night before Bastille day. So Jean Luc and I exchanged numbers and email addresses, and he told me he’d love to have me over for dinner before I left town.

That night at the Eiffel Tower, people were wild. I’m not a person who usually gets scared, but there was something in the air that made me a little scared. A woman alone in a crowd. People laughing and drinking under glittering tower lights. A frenetic energy of abandon all around. My stomach had knots in it, but I was determined to have my picnic. And while I sat in the grass, looking over the messages I had written earlier, a man turned to me and joked that he was frustrated with his girlfriend, could he talk to me instead? I said sure. I shared some of my food, he lit my cigarette for me, because I kept having issues with my lighter. (If you don’t smoke a little in Paris, you’re really missing out. It’s part of the whole experience, my dear.)

His lady was gorgeous. We all talked about life and relationships and the way the human mind works. They were only 24 and 25, and they were actually full-blown married, and they were the same age I was when I had gotten married, too. “I didn’t see a ring on your hand!” I told the lady.

She frowned. “I lost it on the train on the way here.” She was sad.

But lo! While at the table in the Opera district, I had taken off a pretty little ring from my hand and put it in a box with a special message. And I hadn’t known why I did it. But now, didn’t that seem divinely ordained?

So I rifled through my bag and handed it to her.

“Look inside,” I said. My eyes sparkled. I’m Mary Poppins.

She opened it and smiled and showed her husband. And he took that ring out of the box and put it on her finger, and they got married again right in front of me. On the grass in front of the Eiffel Tower. On the night before Bastille Day. And it was beautiful.

So back to Jean Luc.

Two days later, I went to his apartment for dinner. His lover, let’s call him A, cooked a delicious meal. Jean Luc and his friends were professors and had known each other for a long time. We all sat around to eat couscous, and Jean Luc started the meal with a prayer for me, a prayer that aligned with my deepest dream, my deepest wish. I will not share that part with you, reader. It’s personal.

After we ate, Lover A agreed to slow dance with me in the living room. What a special soul. What another beautiful night.

Paris is the place dreams are made of. Paris is the place wishes come true.

How can a person ever be alone when she has so many friends?

I still think about that prayer from Jean Luc. I know that because he said it, it will come true.

Categories: journey, love

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